An Ode to Sewing by Hand

28 September 2022

Sponsored in part by:

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I’ve spent decades longing to sew and, for most of that time, I have placed obstacles between sewing and me. The biggest one was believing that I needed a sewing machine to do it. Of course, I knew that sewing was part of human history long before the invention of the sewing machine, but for ages I was convinced that I didn’t have what it took to sew by hand. This has changed, and, if you feel drawn to sewing, I hope I can help change that for you too. What did I think was necessary for hand sewing that I didn’t possess or couldn’t acquire? Two things, mostly: patience and skill.

Sewing tools photo by Josiane Richer dit Laflèche; other photos by Éric Gauthier.

Copyright © Josiane Richer dit Laflèche except as indicated.
Josiane Richer dit Laflèche – 1

About Josiane Richer dit Laflèche

Text and textile are the main threads that have run throughout Josiane Richer dit Laflèche’s life and they, along with neurodivergency and disability (ME/CFS), have had the biggest influence on the shape it has taken. A linguistic anthropologist by training, she works with words––both hers and those of others––in various ways, including in her capacity as the agent of writer and storyteller Éric Gauthier. The rest of her time is divided between reading, spinning, sewing, weaving, knitting… and learning other fibre and textile arts! Josiane is currently channeling her interest in language and culture into crafting a podcast that aims to provide listening practice to people who are learning French or who want to maintain their knowledge of that language. Learn more at She lives in the N’dakinna, the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Waban-Aki (Abenaki) Nation, more specifically in Kchi Nikitawtegwak—the name given by the W8banakiak to the city otherwise known as Sherbrooke, Québec.

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